(Victor Valley)– Two bills authored by Senator Steve Knight that intend to make life a little easier for two deserving populations within the disabled community passed the Senate Floor on Tuesday with unanimous and bipartisan support. Sponsored by the Board of Equalization, SB 1113 grants disabled veterans enhanced tax benefits; while SB 922 increases sentences for those convicted of rape of a developmentally disabled victim. Both received key legislative support.
Under existing law, when a veteran receives a disability rating of 100 percent from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, he or she qualifies for a California state property tax exemption on the value of their home. The wait veterans face to secure their 100 percent rating sometimes is much longer than the four-year statute of limitations. As a result, disabled veterans miss out on thousands of dollars in property tax refunds to which they were entitled – SB 1113 seeks to remedy this problem by extending the statute of limitations to eight years.
“Veterans should be able to access the tax exemptions that our appreciative state has determined they are entitled to, especially when they encounter bureaucratic delays over which they have no control,” said Senator Steve Knight. “Veterans wounded in defense of our country have earned more than our respect, and the Senate’s votes on Senate Bill 1113 validate our state’s appreciation for veterans.
Senate Bill 922 addresses the despicable issue of sexual crimes against disabled victims and seeks to close a loophole that allows convicted rapists to walk away with shockingly light sentences, by expanding current sentencing rates to mirror those when the victim is younger than 14.
“The most vulnerable of our society are being victimized, and California’s legal system should take every effort to protect them,” said Senator Knight. “SB 922 is needed so the repulsive perpetrators who commit these heinous crimes receive sentences that reflect their culpability.”
Studies show that the level of violent and other major crimes against persons with substantial disabilities is four to 10 times higher than the general public.
The bills will next be heard in the Assembly, where if they continue to see bipartisan support, California’s disabled community may soon see added protections.